First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed a significant easing of lockdown restrictions in Scotland from next Monday, including the conditional re-opening of hospitality and allowing all shops to bring back customers.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said it was welcome that progress was being made against the virus but warned that recovery was far from assured for many local firms.
Andrew McRae, FSB’s Scotland policy chair, said: “Many local shops, cafés, gyms and restaurants will heave a sigh of relief that Scotland’s re-opening timetable is on track. As local firms open their doors for the first time in months, we’d urge the people of Scotland to support them with their hard-earned cash. Further, we need to see officials set out timely, practical, realistic guidance for businesses welcoming back customers.
“However, the easing of certain measures doesn’t mean that this crisis is over for Scotland’s smaller firms. These businesses are saddled with billions of pounds of debt and face ongoing restrictions which will hamper their capacity to generate revenue. There’s a big difference between being legally allowed to open and being able to trade profitably. Half of all Scottish business owners are worried about the survival of their firm, and hundreds of thousands of workers in Scotland are still on furlough.
“Next week’s reopening brings the state of our local economies into sharper focus. Despite a seismic economic event, the debate about recovery has hardly been ground-shaking. Scotland’s political parties must use the last fortnight of this election campaign to set out how they’ll get our local and independent firms back on their feet.”